The LCS, the World Championship, Worlds, whatever you want to call it, the biggest League of Legends tournament, featuring the best teams across the planet, is here. Well, actually, it’s here, on the League of Legends E-Sports website, but I am sure you blog-goers would understand. Unfortunately, due to my duties in Demacia and on the Fields of Justice, I was actually late to make this announcement.
There is a problem though. I wonder how much of the community actually cares?
Of course, the Asian communities almost certainly care. E-sports is a steadily growing phenomenon, and some places like South Korea take it to extreme levels of dedication. After all, becoming a professional is nothing to sniff at. In both League of Legends and Dota 2, there are HUGE prizes on the line to the winning team. But it seems as though every year plays out somewhat similarly. Just as the North American teams always defeat the European (and sometimes Australian) teams in TF2 LAN games, you always see two Asian teams facing each other off in the finals. This is more worrying with League of Legends since they have teams from far more regions than TF2 does, and the reason why NA always does so well in TF2 is because of teams that stick together forever like B4nny and Shade.
So we have plenty of Asian LoL players caring, but what about the rest of the world? They are all pretty certain that, no matter what team they root for, their team will not win. Every year though Riot adds incentive to play, this year by offering prizes to whoever can correctly guess who wins what. Which doesn’t really help players who don’t follow the pro scene. Yes, you may get a nice Poro icon out of it (although personally I hate those furry little horned snow rats) but it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll get your picks 100% right or at least right enough to get a real prize.
Really, it seems that everyone cares more about their own personal goals. Should a player manage to reach Gold or higher in ranked League of Legends, they get a Victorious skin. The skin each season is only teased before the world championships and is unveiled at the end. This year, it’s said to be a Marksman, and coming from the teaser picture, it’s probably Sivir.
Maybe Vayne or Ashe. Never really an interesting champion though. And because the skin is only unveiled at the end of the season, people can slave their backsides off, climbing up the ranks slowly, fighting off the many horrendous trolls and “ELO terrorists” (i.e. people who intentionally throw the game if they don’t get the role or champion they want), not to mention people who just randomly leave (which has never been a problem in TF2 and not so much a problem in Dota 2 since you can safely leave a match of someone fails to connect after 5 minutes), only to find that the champion skin they have won, well, sucks. I’ll be honest, I saw Shyvana walking around in her fancy new Victorious costume, I was not impressed.
Still, the excitement and intensity is much more selfish. Even I am to blame. Personally, I’d only put myself through the misery of ranked play if the rewards were worth it. An icon, a border, a skin. Once you get into Gold, you might as well stay there, as the prizes don’t improve much and you no longer need to play constantly to keep your rank.
It seems rather unusual to put so much effort into all this, especially when E-Sports apparently lose money for Riot Games. But there must be lots of money there somewhere, otherwise they wouldn’t get bigger every year.
Oh, also, a new champion, Kindred, was released. Although this being of death was marketed as a dual champion, it appears to be no better than Malzahar and his Voidlings, with even LESS control over your second character. It seems as though Orianna and Annie will remain the go-to champions for those who want to play two champions at once. The wonderful, ghostly Wolf is nothing but a circling sidekick to the strange, not at all sheep-like Lamb. And their kit makes no thematic sense what so ever.